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Location - Eastern Europe; Capital - Bucharest; Population - 20 million; Currency - Romanian Leu

I returned to Romania from Moldova, taking the overnight train from Chisinau to Bucharest - April 2012. MORE ROMANIA


Romanianote50 Lei (plural of Leu)









romania2Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu's burial place is at Ghencea Civil Cemetery. Nicolae Ceaușescu was the brutal communist leader of Romania until his overthrow in a 1989 revolution. Nicolae and his wife Elena were executed on 25 December 1989 - Bucharest


romania7The Palace of the Parliament - often called the People's House - was built in 1984 on the orders of Nicolae Ceaușescu - Bucharest



romania9This hugely extravagant building cost over 3.3billion Euros and has 3,100 rooms covering 12 storeys - Bucharest












romania15A theatre was originally constructed in the palace, though it was decided it wasn't needed - Bucharest












romania17The Palace of the Parliament is awash with marble, silk curtains, hand woven carpets and chandaliers - Bucharest


romania21This central room was the location of a meeting between Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres - Bucharest


romania24Ceaușescu intended this view of Bulevardul Unirii to be where he addressed his people, but he never lived to indulge the fantasy - Bucharest












romania6Close by is the Ministry of Defence (no photos allowed) - Bucharest















romania27On a hill just off Bulevardul Unirii is the 17th century Patricarchal Cathedral - Bucharest


romania35It's a wonderful life: Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu are at the centre of this mosaic in the National Military Museum - Bucharest



romania41There's lots of weaponry on show at the National Military Museum - Bucharest













romania57Another ghost of the past is the building of the former Central Committee of the Communist Party, at Piata Revolutiei.
This was where Ceaușescu addressed a baying crowd on 21 December 1989 - Bucharest












romania48Also on Piata Revolutiei is the former Securitate building (Communist secret police) which was destroyed by protestors in 1989 - Bucharest


romania55The basement has been converted into a cafe decorated with photos of the revolution - Bucharest


romania58Piata Revolutiei and the former Central Committee of the Communist Party building - Bucharest












romania61The Romanian Athenaeum, a short walk from Piata Revolutiei, hosts concerts - Bucharest













romania60Opposite the Athenaeum is Athenee Palace. Now a Hilton hotel, it was used by the Securitate during the Communist era - Bucharest


romania62Carol I, King of Romania until 1914 - Bucharest


romania64Have a walk down Calea Victoriei for a taste of Bucharest's historic centre













romania65Pasajul Villacros is a covered arcade in the old town, packed with cafes and bars - Bucharest















romania67Bessarabia refers to an historic region which loosely translates to the former Soviet republic of Moldova. The language of Moldova is Moldovan but it's virtually the same as Romanian - Bucharest


romania68Put time aside for a wander around Strada Lipscani in the historic quarter - Bucharest


romania69Lipscani and the pedestrian streets off it are full of bars, restaurants, cafes and shops - Bucharest












romania71Watching the English FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Everton in Lipscani - Bucharest













romania73It might not look like it but this area gets extremely busy in the evening - as long as it's not chucking down with rain, as it was a few minutes before this photo - Bucharest


romania76A statue of Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad the Impaler and often referred to as Dracula, in the grounds of the Old Princely Court in the old town - Bucharest


romania86 When I visited Romania it was a bit of a washout; as a result noone sat for a drink in this very chic-looking outside bar - Bucharest













romania89Manuc's Inn is a recently renovated historic hotel-restaurant complex - Bucharest













romania94Cismigiu Lake is at the centre of a park of the same name - Bucharest


romania96Colourful Easter rabbits on a very wet day in Cismigiu Garden - Bucharest


romania100A sculpture at Piata Universitatii - Bucharest













romania102 There were various political banners and posters at Piata Universitatii, plus a Romanian-flag waver - Bucharest













romania106A memorial to Mihai Gatlan and others who died in the protests of 21 December 1989 against Ceaușescu - Bucharest


romania103The Europa Cup was on display at the Piata Universitatii subway. The 2012 Europa Cup Final was held in Bucharest between Atletico de Madrid and Athletic Bilbao - Bucharest


romania109Herastrau Lake is one of a series of lakes in the north of the city - Bucharest














romania111Herastrau Park - Bucharest














romania112Romania has its very own Arch de Triomphe, the Arcul de Triumf - Bucharest


romania114A quirky and colourful sculpture near Piata Victoriei - Bucharest


romania117Constanta is a Black Sea resort a couple of hours from Bucharest














romania119Lake Mamaia is in the northern part of Constanta, separated from the Black Sea by about 50-100 metres














romania121Take a boat on Lake Mamaia - Constanta


romania1183 and 4D are so yesterday. Length, breadth, height, time, erm.. Constanta


romania125A cable car plies the coastal resort at Mamaia in northern Constanta













romania131The Black Sea summer resorts get busy from June onwards. It was a ghost town in Mamaia in April - Constanta













romania132A short distance south of the resort of Mamaia is Constanta


romania135The tourist marina is a hotch-potch of boats, half-finished buildings and a couple of restaurants - Constanta


romania136But the bar-restaurants are perfect for a sunny day - Constanta















romania138The waterfront casino looks as though it's seen better days - Constanta














romania141This photo was the product of my fruitless search by public transport for the tomb of Vlad Tepes, which is said to lie in a monastery on an island in Snagov Lake. I managed to get to the town of Snagov from where I thought the island was a walk away. But no it's a couple more bus rides away; or just one bus ride from Bucharest if you take the right one..
I was also thwarted in my attempt to visit the real Dracula castle at Poenari, after a mixture of incessant rain, bus connections and a mighty hangover prevented me getting there and back in a day.



romania154Peles Castle has a gorgeous setting below the Bucegi Mountains - Sinaia














romania151Peles Castle was the summer residence of King Carol I - Sinaia















romania157The castle dates to the 19th century, though it was only completed in 1914 - Sinaia


romania165Peles Castle - Sinaia



romania161King Carol I stands near the entrance to Peles Castle - Sinaia


















romania166The grounds of Peles Castle - Sinaia















romania149The castle was closed when I went but it's setting is worth the trip alone - Sinaia


romania148100 metres or so from Peles Castle is Pelisor Palace - Sinaia


romania148aPelisor Palace was also built by King Carol I to house nephew Ferdinand and his wife - Sinaia















romania168Sianaia Monastery is close to the town centre, up a series of steps - Sinaia














romania170The attractive park in the centre of Sinaia is popular with families


romania171There's a casino on the edge of the park - Sinaia


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LINKS - Search for bus timetables - Romanian train timetables; buy tickets - Official website of the Romanian Tourist Board

Wasteels - Contact these guys for international train tickets from Romania


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